Number 52 on Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of 2004!
Consistently warm temperatures July through September yielded Merlot brimming with ripe, concentrated varietal character. Lots were crushed and destemmed, then each was fermented separately on the skins for five days. Certain
lots then were designated to undergo extended contact with the skins to extract additional color, flavor and tannin. The wine was racked by gravity flow to predominantly new French and American oak barrels for malolactic fermentation
and 16 months aging. During this time, barrel to barrel racking was done every three months with biweekly topping. After aging, the winemaker sampled each component wine and created a master blend featuring 60% of all fruit initially
harvested for the Grand Estates program. A small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc also were added to the blend to broaden flavor complexity. The wine offers a chewy raspberry-blueberry core that is cloaked in toasty
coconut. A structure of medium-plus tannins presents a velvety texture on the middle palate.